The proposed program is intended to support the annual participation of ten (10) academically qualified students in the Summer Program in Cancer Research (SPCR) at the University of Texas MD Anderson Science Park (Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis) in Smithville, Texas. This program provides an authentic, hands-on bench research experience for students considering careers in science, research, and health. The primary objective of the program is to prepare students to pursue careers that support nation-wide efforts to reduce cancer and enhance quality of life. Training faculty will provide mentorship to SPCR students on a daily basis for ten consecutive weeks. Through a cohesive and focused infrastructure, the program will support students in cancer research methods and techniques resulting in the development of a small, defined research project that is related to the on-going investigations of the faculty mentor. Culminating in the Scientific Symposium, the SPCR will require students to present their research project to faculty and staff on the last day of the program. Students will also participate in a weekly Cancer Research Lecture Series, a Career Development Lecture Series and a Career Panel Discussion, all of which are designed to support the promotion of self-confidence in cancer research methods and prepare students for entry into undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs that lead to careers in basic or clinical cancer research. The summer experience is augmented by field trip experiences to the MD Anderson Main Campus in Houston and the Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research in Bastrop, Texas, one of the premier primate facilities in the country. Social activities are also included to promote camaraderie between students and lab personnel as well as interpersonal communication and scientific discussion between students from different laboratories. Past programmatic evaluations demonstrate that the Summer Program at Science Park is an important contributor to the career development of participating students and has influenced their decision and ability to pursue graduate training leading to careers in cancer research.
The proposed Summer Program in Cancer Research will support the participation of ten (10) academically talented students in an authentic, hands-on bench research experience for ten weeks during the summer break. The primary objective of the program is to prepare students to pursue science, research, and health careers, which support nationwide efforts to reduce cancer and enhance quality of life. Under the direction of faculty and laboratory staff mentors, students will receive training in laboratory techniques and research procedures that will increase technical acuity, communication skills and self-confidence in entering the cancer research field as well as develop sustained mentor relationships which further promote long-term pursuit of basic science and clinical careers in cancer research.